book review

crossing as we would | gary lundy | review & new poetry

They emerge closer rather than further…

A Review of each room echoes absence by gary lundy

In his new collection, each room echoes absence (FootHills Publishing, March 2018, ISBN 978-0-931053-26-9), gary lundy’s poetry embodies loss, desire, ghosts, and echoes, all amid an erotic mourning.

The death of a lover shadows under memory; memories collide with ventilators; absence fills with desire in an emotionally honest submersion into mourning, “drunk-too-soon” evenings, erotic encounters remembered or fantasized—all coming against a ghostly now that has less presence than the loss. From here the voice in the poems struggles through the Thirty Days of grieving, and on through time in both directions, into more acceptance and distance, more clarity and closeness.

The deceptively spare language of the poems cracks into bits-of-tile phrases, forming a complex mosaic of frenetic emotional intensity that paradoxically remains deeply still at its heart. Images and language paint pictures of erotic memory, emotional loss, man-lovers forming and breaking bonds in the past and, through this mourning, into a future.

They emerge closer rather than further from each other.

By the end of the book, lundy writes of fathers, sons, lovers, gains, and losses so convincingly there, in the flesh of the world, that we feel our lives have been wrung along with the poet’s. The writing burns intensely, flashes and flares, and eventually illuminates that shadow lover, mourns his death, and reconstitutes us into something other than what we were.

Below are new poems by gary, written after those in each room echoes absence.

Michael Dickel

will involves revision and later objectifications

romanticizing death others in abstract meaning they and us. all bodies roiling within volatile assumptions on going not they say forever.

don’t mind it last year not neatly forgotten. because we can like children they say. deliberately choose a photo not becoming. ignore color coding. assume innocence a quality of maturity.

now lie back down and reattach consensual. prior to act within boundaries bonded metallic. constant sense of measure out of impossible numbers. a kindred reading of time.

we would you know were you. after all such accomplish regurgitate. shallow marks on a previous dirty surface. to justify our anger they twist our words inside out. create a consequence out of continuum flourishing.

later objectifications
digital landscape from photographs
©2018 Michael Dickel (words ©2018 gary lundy)

musty smell of left out all day and night

remind us why not. two songs play simultaneously against each other. the ears merge lyrics from one to the warmed over other familiar.

like a confused television announcement interceding static. how do we manage being unable to look even remotely. their face painted angry aside.

how to progress emotionally past the first or second grade. age quickens the ripening process. where has their laughter gone. here earlier although not yours.

we’re being quite literal now. their disappointment clearly in their eyes surprised disquieted. what failures we carry through our life of incidents of mistaken assumptions.

be still they caution. breathe deeply. in then out be very still. feel the air lick the surfaces of your skin. they’re winging it we say. starting from an empty measure alignment.

what failures we carry
digital landscape from photos
©2018 Michael Dickel

you swim between pages of schooling

brush against unspoken requirements. not that they are in any way atypical. we stand apart as background paintings.

a slip. a fall. lock lips broken shoulder. who might possibly wander far enough. to be able to retrace steps outside the problematic horizon. their little car slides sideways on icy snowpack.

reclaim ownership for what is previously given. how their comparisons reduce to ridicule offensive past occasional. we reimagine one of the last nights. embrace irresponsibly their barren dictation.

comfort in brief moments held together over this later time. mix the parts puzzle out nonsense. wipe out the thoughtless gendered. never as a neutering gesture.

lips and imagination flail along with sliding tires. and window punctuations. all of you have parts of one or another more. when excess grows confidence.

wrapped in an alternate normal within fabricated order. it doesn’t help to hold on tightly. too much of anything and undo imbalance. walk a narrow direction. listen for small sounds and insignificance.

who might possibly wander far enough
digital landscape from photos
©2018 Michael Dickel

crossing as we would

your legs invite rough exploration. be still you say. breathe deeply we say. get out of your fucking head they retort. as everyone advances to speak at once.

as the numbers remain more or less common. how they all recognize when it’s time to leave. the conjoined stories have come to unnatural separation.

when impossibility stretches barricades barbed wire. enough to invent used chordal patterns. never look back out of disappointment. will you be wise enough to remain unencumbered.

take all the time we need they say. reminding us of finitude and decreasing lines of intersectionality. such effort put into forestalling contingency. perhaps we might never have met.

the conjoined stories have come to unnatural separation
digital landscape from photos
©2018 Michael Dickel

shadows give way to a deeper hopeful

where signs signal a closed road. winter driving or acrobatic car travel. or by foot along an edge. handling with careful attention. so as not to fall. so as not to fail once again.

out of such moments stir a feather of doubt. which you carry close to your heart for years after. surprise arises from sleep expectant. for whichever pleasure may abound.

your skin or their sky high template. a dozen or two. blood melts into the flooring. whichever directional wandering. set aside exactitude. keep still. breathe slowly. lick their lips. a color mixed imbued.

the fine pen point lessens the weight. declarative affirmation. nothing always left to more. all becomes a means lending toward. outside weather pressures windows and doors.

your skin or their sky high template. a dozen or two. blood melts into the flooring.
digital landscape from photos
©2018Michael Dickel

stop what we’re doing mid sentence

swallow some pastry crumbs lick lip finger glisten. all aglow they go down on you in abstraction. while the other body predictably decomposes.

over time then to fade in a corner recess. in this they escape excessive procurement. we are taught to lie before we can recognize uncountable truth.

the pleasant feel of crisp morning air inside lungs fluorescence. we give them a gift today of presorted candy. when falling asleep grows worthless with frustration.

pretend to know their name. for forgetful pretense is no substitute for mitigating chance. fix within a premade and measured frame. where substance stands outside supports.

recall an easy enough diversion. we account for an impossible accuracy. they can never bear such weighty detail. retreat back into refolded dreams. turn on the faucet explore cold within new dimensions.

where substance stands outside supports.
digital landscape from photos
©2018 Michael Dickel

gary lundy’s poems have appeared most recently in Spider Mirror, Poydras ReviewShow Your SkinOxidant | Engine, Antinarrative, The BeZine, and Diaphanous. His most recent chapbook, at | with (free PDF download), was published last spring by Locofo Chaps. His second full length collection, each room echoes absence, was released this month by FootHills Publishing. gary is a retired English Professor and queer living in Missoula, Montana.


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